Introduction: Travel-Size Toothpaste USB Mod

My ex-wife asked me to resolder the USB connection for her flash drive. She gave it to me on Friday when I picked up the kids. Her intention was to pick it up from me when she comes to get the kids on Sunday.

I made the repair, no problem. Just for fun though, I decided not not to put it back in its original case. I searched the house - looking for something to put it in. I almost went to the store to pick up a pink eraser. Then I found this travel-size toothpaste - it only had enough toothpaste for 1 or 2 more brushings.

I confess that my original purpose was aesthetic humor. However, my second thought was that I could keep this soon-to-be-discarded vessel away from the landfill.

Step 1: Help Fight Cavities!

You will need to following:

A travel-size toothpaste tube with a screw-on cap - near empty.
Ex-wife's USB thumb drive
Some stuffing or batting material - My dogs tore open a pillow earlier in the day.
Exacto knife
Dremel tool
Super glue
Baking soda
Electrical tape

Step 2: Great Regular Flavor

Start by brushing your teeth with any remaining toothpaste.
Cut just the very end of tube where it has been factory sealed. Just trip enough to remove the seal.
Pass the open container to someone else to clean any remaining toothpaste out.
Once you get it back, double check it.
Send your kid back into the bathroom to do a better job.

Step 3: Helps Strengthen Teeth

Hold up your USB to the threaded end of the toothpaste tube.
Line it up so that the circuit board will lay flat inside the tube once installed.
As you hold the USB to the threads, mark the threaded end with your Exacto-knife, front and back so you will know where to start cutting.

I used my Exacto-knife to do most of the material removal. I used my Dremel tool to remove a little of the VERY TOUGH inner plastic liner during fitting.

During the test fitting, I discovered that the USB would not stick out far enough when plugged into the computer.
I cut all but the bottom thread off of the threaded end of the tube. This allowed the USB connector to stick out further.

Take your time and trim away slowly on the inside of the threaded area to get a nice, tight fit.

Step 4: 4 Out of 5 Dentists Agree...

Wrap the USB in electrical tape. Probably over-kill, but I did not want the stuffing touching the electronics. Also, this thumb drive had a write-protection switch that I did not want locked on accident.

Place the USB in position
Pull small quantities of batting or stuffing material and stuff into the tube, both on top of and below the USB circuit board.
Continue stuffing up to the end of the tube. I used the blunt end of a Bic pen to tamp the stuffing all the way to the deepest part of the tube.

Remember to use a little less at the end so it can taper to a close. Judge for yourself how much stuffing you need to use.

Step 5: Whitens and Brightens

After stuffing, I used my Dremel to rough up just the very end of the inside of the tube.
Bring the ends of the tube together and crimp the corners a bit with some small needle-nose pliers.
Open slightly and drop a bead of super glue.

Apply baking soda to any super glue showing at the seam.
This should have sealed it up pretty good. If not, scrape off any excess super glue/baking soda and sparingly run a thin bead of super glue and reapply baking soda. Just make sure it looks clean.

I cut the inside center of the cap out because it was positioned 1/3 of the way down the cap and would not allow for the cap to close completely.
I painstakingly carved a disk out with my Exacto-knife.
Once freed, I reglued the disk to the top of the cap. Position the disk and glue from the inside, using baking soda to strengthen.
Run a thin bead of super glue around the top of the cap too to fill any gaps visible from the outside. Once more with the baking soda to fill.

I used my Dremel tool to remove excess material from the inside of the cap. Remember, you will only need the bottom thread or two to attach the cap

Step 6: The Minty Fresh Feeling Lasts All Day

Put the cap on.
Plug it into the computer and admire your work.

Give your cool creation back to its owner.

Comments

author
glassylady (author)2010-11-14

I have been racking my brain as to what to give to my techy nephew for Christmas and this is IT. Thanks. Your humor was the topper, Ho-ho-ho.

author
zakamooza (author)2010-10-06

why did u add baking soda to the glue ?

author
uais (author)2010-01-29

brilliant :D  in next step maybe 2 functions one toothpaste - second pendrive ? Regs mac.

author
mooreamanda93 (author)2010-01-22

This is the part where you lose me.  I can get up to this part fairly easalie http://i476.photobucket.com/albums/rr126/moore_amanda/usb.jpg  .
I cut the top off of the cap *which works SO much easier if you heat the knife over a candle for a few seconds*
then I'm not understanding what I'm supposed to do with the little disk? and then how the cap would fit on anyway? maybe it's because I'm using a diferent brand *crest*
what do you think?

author
ryan97128 (author)mooreamanda932010-01-22

I cut the inside center of the cap out because it was positioned 1/3 of the way down the cap and would not allow for the cap to close completely.

I painstakingly carved a disk out with my Exacto-knife.

Once freed, I reglued the disk to the top of the cap. Position the disk and glue from the inside, using baking soda to strengthen.

Removing the center of the cap, since it was located about 1/3 the way from the end of the cap made it possible for the USB to fit better inside the cap by making more room inside.

If your USB fits under the cap with no modification, you wouldn't need to cut and relocated the center of the cap. Hope this helps!

author
ChrysN (author)2009-01-18

Nicely done, it looks great! Why do you add baking soda to super glue?

author
ryan97128 (author)ChrysN2009-01-18

If you try to glue something, you often end up with a small pool of super glue that takes a while to completely dry. The baking soda absorbs the excess glue and makes a stronger bond than the super glue alone. It is the same principal as using rebar in concrete. Concrete on its own is strong, but reinforcing with rebar makes it incredibly strong. See my other instructables for more examples of how to use super glue and baking soda to make a rock solid joint!

author
ChrysN (author)ryan971282009-01-18

Thanks, I'll try that the next time I use super glue!

author
jayro707 (author)ChrysN2009-10-06

datz what she said...

author
bamslower (author)2009-04-17

thanks for this tutorial thingy, i had a perfectly good memory stick with a broken case so ive just made one of these, i didn't have all the right tools and i cut my finger several times with my pen knife, but i did it :D

author
emattrose (author)2009-03-21

This looks like it would protect the drive pretty well, as well as looking awesome. Does the cap stay on securely and take strain off the usb? I've been looking for a mod that will let me throw my flash drive into the bottom of my bag and not worry about it getting bent or broken...

author
trojanx (author)2009-01-30

nice hidden usb but... what will the local librarian think when i am stuffing "tooth past" into one of the computers..... XD

author
actswaddell (author)2009-01-18

Beyond reasoning! I haven't stopped laughing yet. Now I'm going to hide my extra pair of teeth and my Preperation H. Stay away from my chickens! Love Mom

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